The combination of racism and warmongering are perfectly encapsulated in “gook,” a racist term formed during numerous U.S. wars, from the invasion of the Philippines (1898-1902) to the occupation of Haiti in 1920, to the Korean and Vietnam Wars. John McCain used this anti-Asian slur freely and casually until he was forced to for fear of sabotaging his own presidential ambitions.
The portrait of John McCain painted in “Gook: John McCain’s Racism and Why It Matters” is far more disturbing than any racial epithet. A central thesis of Gook: war fertilizes racism, and racism justifies wars and the killing of civilians. This dynamic thrives within the most dangerous leaders of the world. Is John McCain one of them?
Irwin A. Tang holds an M.A. in Asian Studies. He is the co-author of Asian Texans and When Invisible Children Sing.